PerspectivesCole Pepper Jacksonville Today Contributor

SPORTS | Trevor Lawrence is stepping toward superstardom 

Published on July 30, 2023 at 9:28 pm
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When it comes to the Jaguars, just about every NFL prognosticator is making the same assumption: Trevor Lawrence will be better in 2023 than he was in 2022.

I’ve made the same assumption. Lawrence’s continued development is, after all, the most important factor in the Jaguars’ success this season and beyond.

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Lawrence has been a star since his freshman year in high school. He was the first pick in the NFL draft. And if not for Urban Meyer’s influence, he certainly could be at a place in his career where the questions about his NFL career would be unquestioned.

Still, let’s take a trust-but-verify approach this preseason. The pads still have not gone on at training camp — that will happen this week. 

And yet, Lawrence has already shown signs of growth.

Doug Pederson noted an improvement in the QB’s ability to communicate with the staff to refine the offense, important considering this is the first time since college Lawrence has entered a season in the same offensive scheme as the previous season. 

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“One thing that really helps him is having the type of guys around him that he has and the way they practice every single day that puts him in game-like situations,” Pederson said. “It’s my job to make sure we are practicing these scenarios and that he understands exactly what we’re trying to get done. I think that consistency now will continue to elevate and get his game even better as we go.”

While in past training camps Lawrence was learning a new offense and trying to understand how a new coaching staff communicates, this year, he is already working on the finer points of the position — the kind of details that only veteran quarterbacks in a stable system can focus on.

There is one big addition to the Jaguars’ offense this season: wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who has been impressive in the early stages of camp. He has been anxious to get on the field with his new teammates, and he appears to be in midseason form already. That will help as well.

Last season, Lawrence had an up-and-down first half of the season. Then something clicked. In the last nine games of the regular season, Lawrence threw 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions while completing nearly 70% of his passes. He led the Jaguars to seven wins in that stretch, winning the AFC South and earning a playoff spot.

Then came the remarkable 27-point comeback in the wild-card round of the playoffs against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Now, Lawrence will try to build on that improvement. 

“I think as a quarterback you’re always looking for that timing with all your guys, like we talked about, all the different routes that they might run,” Lawrence said. “During the season, yeah, that might dwindle down a little bit and we might get more specific on each guy, but you try to get a feel for all the guys and all the different routes, how they’re going to run them, how you’re going to throw them, and what they are going to do versus different coverages. I think it’s been really good for us and it’s going to continue to be good for us.”

The Jaguars’ first preseason game is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 12. If Lawrence plays in the game, it will be the first chance to see how much progress the offense has made since last year at this time and will provide a glimpse of what the season could look like for the Jaguars. 

author image Jacksonville Today Contributor

Cole Pepper has covered sports in Jacksonville since 1996, most recently for News4Jax. He is currently broadcast director for Sporting Club Jacksonville and has called play-by-play for a number of teams, including the Suns, Tomcats, Jacksonville University, Sharks and The Bolles School football. He also served as the studio host for the Jaguars Radio Network.

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